I of course got the cover of Dawn holding Buffy in her hand (which images look exactly like MT and SMG, btw). The alterna-cover was cartoonish versions of Willow, Buffy, and Xander standing around.
They had copies of Part III, including an alterna-cover: same cartoony versions, Willow and Xander putting together a jigsaw puzzle of Buffy's face. Meh.
Opening panel: Because we recall the previous issue we realize it's Warren, a flashback to his death.
I find myself actually somewhat enamoured of the dysfunctional relationship that is Warren/Amy -- "If Amy hadn't been watching you, she would never have started watching me. Watching over me." [...] "Her magic is my skin."
And we get the requisite nod to Rebound!Willow.
Shard of glass to eyeball = eek!
Dawn to Buffy: "Will is like a mom to me."
I dislike this.
I can see younger Dawn really being fond of Willow 'cause Willow was far more academically-oriented (as Dawn was often portrayed as being) than Buffy, and I know Willow and Tara both lived in the Summers' house acting as parents (especially while Buffy was dead) but it was Tara who made Dawn pancakes and curled up with her on the couch. Tara is much more of a parent figure to the whole gang generally, and Willow spent a lot of time spiralling off the magic deep end so she really didn't do a whole lot of parental care.
It just feels pasted for the benefit of an emotional arc about Buffy and Dawn having difficulty connecting,
Warren to Willow: "And therein lies, it's very operatic, your downfall. You're just so strong. All your power is siphoned into these bonds. The stronger you get... Try it. Go dark. I wish you would."
I love this. It reminds me of Giles' green pure magic in the S6 finale, but different.
Buffy says "Satsu."
Is that the name of one of the Potentials or something?
I'm really intrigued by the five figures who rescued Willow.
[Sidenote: On rereading, this page isn't as random as I had thought -- we alternate panels between Willow-space and Buffy-space.]
The speech box of "She's kind of a history major." over Buffy and the scythe? I totally thought of juleskicks.
The cinnamon lip gloss bit felt a bit too pastede on though I know it's Joss tradition to break up the seriousness with levity.
hairy-woman: "This refuge is only temporary, as you know."
blue-woman: "We cannot undo what is happening on your plane, but your heart can bide here with us until you are free."
Willow: "Would that be free as in 'unbound' or free as in the other thing?"
blue-woman: "We can't know and won't try. Look over the edge."
[new panel, which I initially saw as fire, but on closer inspection at reread they're human figures]
Willow: "This is me."
blue-woman: "Yes. We hide your agony by reformatting its presentation. // What you're seeing is possibility. Thoughts, courses of action, pieces of what you could be. // Ending."
[next panel] blue-woman: "He's lobotomizing you. // Do you have a plan?"
[wow, on first reading I was clearly over-focused on the text 'cause I didn't even notice all the falling bodies]
blue-woman: "Your body is almost dead. You can't come back from a natural death. Not even you. // Do you not fear?"
Willow: "Did I ever tell you about my best friend?"
[And we see that she has a green light saber now. And the next panel is Buffy, with the speech balloon continuing, as if it's Buffy speaking.]
"I like to think, in a way, that she's a part of me. That even she she's gone, a part of her is with me. 'Cause it is." [I would argue we are building the BFF here foreshadowing the eventual reveal that she's the one who kissed Buffy awake.]
[And now Buffy has green-magic glove and shield and crackling.]
Amy: "This is a lightshow. You haven't got a particle of her strength."
Buffy: "I saw your dreamspace, Amy. I saw your nightmare."
[I'm assuming this is to distract Amy so she doesn't zap the grenade they tossed at her.]
I know Willow's supposed to look happy, but her expression upon release reads chipper-evil to me each time.
Willow: "I don't have a bunch of healing left, but I should be able to stop the worst of it."
Buffy: "You can turn them into moss as long as it's healthy moss. I promised to--"
Wow, good on Buffy. She didn't even make an explicit promise -- at least not "onscreen" (all we see is: "We tried to be nice here but some of these men are dying. There's one person in this complex powerful enough to heal them. You can tell me where she is... or."). That's some serious integrity.
I also like that she rescues Ethan too. Or tries to anyway. (He can't really be dead, right?)
Buffy: "Heal the soldiers and see who else they've got in these cells."
guard: "No one worth much. // The only one who could have helped you was Rayne."
Buffy: "The mark..."
guard: "Twilight. // Is coming. // For all your monstrous spawn... It all ends very soon."
Buffy: "Are you talking about the girls who are protecting the world from--"
guard: "Evil? Demons? Where do you think your power comes from? Oh, wait: You already know. // You've upset the balance, girl. Do you really think we were going to sit by and let you create a master race?"
Buffy: "This isn't about demons at all, is it? // It's about women. It's about power and it's about women and you just hate those two words in the same sentence, don't you?"
[This made me think of Joss' post in reaction to the Dua Khalil murder.]
guard: "You think it's only men want to bring you down? // You're not human. // You've been to war with the demons, with The First, but believe me you picked the wrong side. 'Cause God help us, if you win then you'll decide the world still isn't the way you want it and the demon in you will say just one thing. // 'Slay.' // We're not waiting for that to happen. We will wipe you out./ // Not just monsters anymore. It's you against the world. // You're at war with the human race."
I'm glad to see some of the problematics of the mass-Slayer-empowering being addressed, though I'm not sure how much hope to hold out that they'll be dealt with well.
Issue #5 out August 1.